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Commercialization as exogenous shocks: The effect of the soybean trade and migration in Manchurian villages, 1895–1934

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  • Kung, James Kai-sing
  • Li, Nan

Abstract

The effects of commercialization and migration in traditional agrarian economies such as China's during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been a subject of ferocious debate. Using data from Manchuria on soybean cultivation and exports, we employ difference-in-differences and instrumental variable approaches to demonstrate a significantly positive relationship between growing soybeans for export and the returns to migration. Those who migrated to Manchuria in response to high market prices, and to villages more suitable for cultivating soy prospered most; they owned approximately two-thirds more of the arable land and one-third more of houses than those who failed to do so. Evidence suggests that the positive welfare effect of commercialization-cum-migration was confined not only to the rich, who seek to relieve the “land constraint” at home, but possibly also to the poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Kung, James Kai-sing & Li, Nan, 2011. "Commercialization as exogenous shocks: The effect of the soybean trade and migration in Manchurian villages, 1895–1934," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 568-589.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:48:y:2011:i:4:p:568-589 DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2011.07.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kung, James Kai-sing & Wu, Xiaogang & Wu, Yuxiao, 2012. "Inequality of land tenure and revolutionary outcome: An economic analysis of China's land reform of 1946–1952," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 482-497.
    2. Li, Dan & Li, Nan, 2017. "Moving to the right place at the right time: Economic effects on migrants of the Manchuria Plague of 1910–11," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 91-106.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Commercialization; Soybean trade; Migration; Socioeconomic welfare; Manchuria;

    JEL classification:

    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • N55 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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